Helping Your Child Overcome Dentist Fears

Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

Child overcomes his fear of the dentist office with a smile on his face.

A Dentist in La Plata, MD You and Your Family Can Trust

For more than 15 years now, Dr. Christian Johnson has been providing quality dental care to patients in the La Plata and Waldorf, MD areas. At Christian Johnson DMD, it’s our passion to ensure each of our patients receive the best in dental care through the use of state-of-the-art technology, and helping teach our patients good oral hygiene habits. We strive to provide a dental treatment plan created uniquely for each patient, while our friendly staff maintains a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere to promote an anxiety-free experience.

Fear of the Dentist

It’s not uncommon for children — and even some adults — to fear a trip to the dentist. In fact, according to the University of Washington’s Dental Fears Research Clinic in Seattle, roughly 5-8% of Americans avoid seeing their dentist out of fear. However, the effects of skipping the dentist can be detrimental to one’s oral health. The preventative care they miss out on by skipping these important appointments can lead to tooth decay and gum disease — which can lead to far more severe issues down the road if left untreated.

While a large number of those afflicted with this phobia can attribute their fear to a bad dental experience in the past, there can also be a variety of other underlying reasons. Anxiety or mood disorders, PTSD, and past experiences with abuse can also lead to a fear of the dentist.

For some children, however, fear of the dentist can be as simple as being in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar faces, scary looking dental instruments, and bizarre noises. If any of these are the root cause of your child’s phobia, there are more than a few ways to help your child overcome their fear.

Overcoming the Fear

Keep the Information Simple

Before your child’s dental appointment, talk to them about the upcoming trip, but keep the information simple. Including an abundance of detail may only raise more questions with your child, giving them more to worry about. Remain upbeat for the conversation, but don’t make promises you can’t keep — avoid phrases like, “everything will be fine,” because in the event your child ends up needing treatment such as a filling, it could cause them to distrust both you and your Waldorf, MD dentist in the future.

Stage a Practice Visit

Help your child grow more comfortable with the idea of their upcoming dental visit by having a pretend visit beforehand. Use a toothbrush and help your child brush their teeth or help them “brush the teeth” of a stuffed animal or doll. You can also use a mirror to help show your child how the dentist will count their teeth and check to make sure they look clean and strong. Avoid using frightening language like “cavities” or mentioning instruments like drills.

Prepare to Provide Comfort

Depending on the age of your little one, a little fussing will most likely be quite normal, regardless of preparation. In these cases, it’s best to simply be there for your child. Your Waldorf, MD dentistry may suggest being in the room with them, or holding their hand and talking to them in order to help them relax.

Avoid Trying to Relate

A common mistake parents may make is bringing their child to one of their dental appointments in order to help them understand the process and what to expect. This can sometimes backfire, however, if you happen to require a little extra treatment yourself during the visit. Parents might also feel a bit anxious themselves without even fully realizing it, leading your child to pick up on these fears.

Starting Early is Best

If you’re child has yet to have their first dental visit, know that the earlier your child is first introduced to the dentist, the easier it will be for them to acclimate to the process. Starting them young may help prevent a phobia of the dentist from even forming to begin with. Your trusted dentist in Waldorf, MD at Christian Johnson DMD suggests scheduling your child’s first dental visit around the age of one.

Schedule Your Child’s First Appointment Today!

If you’re ready to schedule your child’s first dental visit, contact us at our Waldorf, MD dentistry today! Remember — the earlier you can establish good dental hygiene habits for your child, the healthier they’ll be and the less likely they are to develop a fear of the dentist. If you have any questions, the dental professionals at Christian Johnson DMD would be happy to help. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!